Draft rumors have Cavs making 14th pick promise to Ousmane Dieng

Cavs rumors Ousmane Dieng (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Cavs rumors Ousmane Dieng (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) /

The Cavs weren’t supposed to be picking in this year’s lottery, as a pre-deadline trade for Caris LeVert was supposed to catapult Cleveland into the playoffs.

Plans didn’t shake out the way we all anticipated, and after a quick trip to the play-in tournament, Cleveland got to keep its protected lottery pick. Now, the franchise has an unforeseen chance to improve its roster behind a core of Evan Mobley, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen.

Several names have been tied to the Cavs, but now, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says the rumor within NBA executive circles is that Cleveland may have made commitment to Ousmane Dieng, if he he’s still available, via TheLandonDemand.com (25:43).

"“The Cavs may have given a draft promise to Ousmane Dieng, Windhorst said.”"

At 19 years old, Dieng is a huge project with a “high upside,” commonly used jargon you’re used to hearing when watching any draft.

Dieng averaged 8.9 points and 3.2 rebounds in the NBL. I won’t pretend to be Dieng expert, but it’s been written he has great handles and would be able to guard other big wings, a la Jayson Tatum. That said, his shot needs a lot of work. Shooting can be improved upon, but it takes time.

So, why Dieng instead of a more polished player who could help right now, such as Ohio State’s Malaki Braham or Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji?

Windhorst made the point that if he were running the Cavs, he would be operating on Evan Mobley’s timeline–and that would mean taking a player who may take a few seasons to hit his potential–because if it does happen, Boom, lookout for the Cavs.

Agbaji, 22, may help Cleveland get into the top six this season, but he may just be a “3 and D” guy. Plus there’s the size factor. Agbaji and Branham are smaller wings. See the point above about defending Tatum. Isaac Okoro can’t do it and Branham and Agbaji, at 6-foot-5, will be challenged, too.

For what it’s worth, ESPN’s latest mock had Dieng going to the Thunder with the 12th pick, while the Cavs take Agbaji. OKC heavily scouted Australia, according to Windhorst.

So, if Dieng isn’t there, could the Cavs trade back? It’s certainly a possibility.

Teams in the back of the draft are being aggressive in trying to trade up, according to Windhorst. Previously, we covered how there was a team in the late teens gauging Cleveland’s interest around a trade–and that was weeks ago.

Additionally, Windy made the case for the Cavs to take Agbaji, if he’s there at 14. He cited Alabama product and current Pelican Herb Jones as successful, recent example.

"“I don’t believe you shouldn’t draft a four-year college guy in the first round…That is the exact kind of player the Cavs need, whether you draft him at five, or 35,” Windhrost said."

One last Cavs, Windy nugget

Windhorst noted how Charlotte owns the picks before and after Cleveland (13, 15). He added that the Hornets are looking to trade one of those selections, possibly packaged with Gordon Hayward.

Next. 3 wings to target in the 2nd round of the 2022 NBA Draft. dark

The scribe said Charlotte needs a center and knows the Cavs won’t take one at 14, as the Wine & Gold are set at that position. If the Hornets don’t a center at 13, perhaps teams will have inters in getting their big man at 14.